Fast & Fresh spring meals
Dinner’s ready! Our most inventive weeknight meals for spring, ready in 30 minutes or less
Meanwhile, whisk 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice, 1/3 cup olive oil, 1 tbsp. fresh oregano, and 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper; set aside. Boil 1 lb. asparagus (ends trimmed), cut in spears and halved lengthwise, just until bright green; rinse with cold water.
In a bowl, combine reserved chicken; 4 oz. feta cheese, broken into chunks; asparagus; 2 cups halved grape tomatoes; ½ cup pitted kalamata olives; and 2 cups pita chips. Toss gently with reserved dressing. Add 2 cups baby arugula and toss once just to combine.
Print or save recipe: Grilled Chicken Pita Salad
In a large pot, cook mixture in 1 tbsp. olive oil until softened. Add 1 cup dry white wine, 1 cup water, 1 can (14 oz.) fire-roasted diced tomatoes, ¼ tsp. red chile flakes, and ½ tsp. each kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook, covered, for 10 minutes.
Add 2 cooked crabs (1½ lbs. each), cleaned, quartered, and cracked. Cook, covered, for 5 minutes. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with chopped fresh oregano, flat-leaf parsley, and fennel fronds. Serve with warm, crusty bread.
Print or save recipe: Quick Crab Stew in Fennel-Tomato Broth
About 5 minutes before rice is done, add 2 lbs. asparagus, ends trimmed and cut into 2-in. pieces; 2 tbsp. unsalted butter; and ½ cup grated parmesan cheese; cook until asparagus is tender-crisp.
Print or save recipe: Asparagus Risotto
Brown in same pan with 1 tbsp. more oil. Serve on toasted kaiser rolls with shallots, lettuce, and a mixture of ¼ cup each mayonnaise and crumbled blue cheese.
Print or save recipe: Chicken Burgers with Caramelized Shallots and Blue Cheese
Put 12 large sheets rice paper on a separate plate. Set out a large bowl of boiling water so diners can dip their rice papers (allow 1 minute to soften), then assemble spring rolls.
Recipe: DIY Chicken Papaya Spring Rolls
Fast & fresh tip: Buy pre-toasted nuts They’re readily available, and pack a lot more flavor than untoasted.
Add 2 tbsp. tomato paste, 14 oz. canned diced tomatoes, 1 tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary, 1 tsp. kosher salt, and 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper. Simmer 10 minutes, then serve over 12 oz. cooked spaghetti. Sprinkle with shaved parmesan cheese and chopped fresh oregano.
Recipe: Mushroom-Herb Spaghetti
Fast & fresh tip: No-brainers Salad-in-a-bag, pre-sliced mushrooms, and pre-made pizza dough are part of the busy cook’s repertoire.
Spread 4 oz. corn tortilla chips in a shallow baking dish and top with half of meat, 1/3 cup fresh salsa verde, and ¾ cup shredded jack cheese. Repeat layers. Bake until cheese melts and chips start to brown, 6 minutes. Serve with shredded lettuce, sliced avocado, diced tomatoes, sour cream, and salsa.
*Buy at well-stocked grocery stores.
Recipe: Bison Nachos
Add 2 lbs. mussels in shells and cook, covered, until mussels open. Sprinkle with 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil and serve with crusty bread.
Recipe: Orange and Basil Mussels
Spread a little Dijon mustard on each, then top each with thinly sliced smoked ham and a thin slice gruyère cheese. Return to oven until cheese melts.
Recipe: Chicken Cordon Bleu
Cut onions in half. Rinse and pat dry ¼ cup sliced roasted red peppers. Fill 8 pita bread halves with the cheese, onions, red peppers, and ½ cup sliced pepperoncini. Brush outsides of pitas with a little oil and cook, turning once, until grill marks appear. Serve with mixed olives.
Recipe: Grilled Halloumi Pitas
*Buy in the refrigerated aisle.
Recipe: Miso Soup with Tofu and Nori
Cut a 1-lb. lamb knuckle or bottom roast into 4 pieces; brush 2 tbsp. of sauce over each. Grill lamb, turning and brushing with a bit of sauce, 10 minutes for medium-rare. Let rest, then slice.
For salad, combine 2 cans (14.5 oz. each) drained chickpeas, 2/3 cup fresh mint leaves, thinly sliced peel from 1 lemon, 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice, ½ tsp. kosher salt, ¼ cup thinly sliced red onion, and ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil. Serve lamb over salad with remaining harissa on the side.
*Buy in the international foods aisle.
Fast & fresh tip: Stock up on canned fish and beans They’re good quality and real timesavers. Canned salmon is a sustainable choice, and many markets now carry sustainable pole- and troll-caught tuna.
Cook, stirring occasionally, until meat browns, 5 minutes. Add 1 lb. fresh pineapple chunks and reserved hoisin mixture, stirring to coat, and cook until warm. Serve with white rice.
Recipe: Sweet and Sour Pork
Fast & fresh tip: Cherry-pick at the salad bar At the grocery store, pack up the exact amount of cut, washed produce you need―like pineapple chunks and pepper slices for this recipe.
Cut tomatoes in half. Whisk together ¼ cup tahini, 1 cup plain low-fat Greek yogurt, 1 tbsp. minced garlic, 3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice, and 1 tsp. kosher salt. Top each of 4 pieces warmed naan bread with 1½ cups baby spinach, a few pieces eggplant, 4 tomato pieces, and a spoonful of the yogurt mixture. Roll to eat.
Cut 2 ripe (black) plantains in half crosswise and lengthwise to make 8 pieces. Sprinkle cut sides of each with 1 tsp. packed brown sugar and broil until caramelized. Serve pork chops with sliced plantains, warmed black beans, sour cream, a few slices serrano chile, and cilantro.
Recipe: Spiced Pork with Plantains
Also grill 1 lb. mixed wild and common mushrooms, cut into chunks, for 6 minutes. Set steak on cutting board, sprinkle with sea salt, and tent with foil; let rest. Toss mushrooms with 4 oz. mâche plus olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper to taste. Serve with steak.
Recipe: Vietnamese Steak Noodle Salad
Fast & fresh tip: Shave, don't pick herbs Rinse bunches of fluffy herbs under water, then hold upside down and shave off leaves with a sharp knife.
Meanwhile, simmer 1 qt. chicken broth with 2 crushed garlic cloves and 2 smashed fresh ginger slices, 15 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove garlic and ginger and discard. Add 8 oz. fresh thick udon noodles, 2 cups roughly chopped bok choy, and 1 tbsp. soy sauce to broth; simmer until warmed through. Ladle into 4 bowls. Top each with duck pieces and a drizzle of Asian (toasted) sesame oil.
*Buy from a Chinese take-out restaurant.
Recipe: Chinese Roast Duck Noodle Soup
Fast & fresh tip: Let someone else cook the protein Hit the deli counter for rotisserie chicken, the fish counter for crab, and to-go restaurants for Chinese duck.
Recipe: Grilled Fish and “Chips”
- Pea and Carrot Coconut Curry
- Grilled Quesadillas with Nopales and Salsa Slaw
- Smoked Salmon and Bacon Wraps with Dill Spread
- Chicken and Two-Pepper Calzones
- Spring Minestrone
- Creamy Leek, Pea, and Chicken Pasta
- Scallops and Asparagus over White Bean Purée
- Tuna, Green Olive, and Egg Salad Sandwiches
- Green Onion Pork Noodles
- Grilled Sardines with Cold Bean Salad